This easy carnitas recipe is ready in about 4 hours with the help of a slow cooker. Enjoy tender Mexican pulled pork for dinner tonight!
When you love Mexican food, there are so many delicious options for easy dinners, it can be tough to pick a favorite. Mexican pork dishes like this one a favorite of ours because they can be frozen, then used to make dinner on busy nights!!
Easy Carnitas Recipe
Tender and flavorful bites of spice-rubbed pork are slow cooked, then finished under the broiler to obtain the most magnificent crisp around the edges.
This recipe is one to keep, and it’s certainly one that we enjoy serving at parties and celebrations!
Ingredients Needed For Mexican Pulled Pork
- Sirloin Tip Roast – Leaner than the typical shoulder cut, but just as delicious, this becomes incredibly tender when cooked in a crockpot. Be sure that it’s boneless so you get the most meat for your money.
- Chicken Stock – Instead of buying a carton from the store, mix 1 tablespoon low sodium chicken base into 2 cups of water.
- Spices – A delicious blend of garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and dried oregano. I also add a healthy dose of New Mexico chili powder, which has earthy and fruity undertones and a medium level of heat.
- Limes – Squeeze a couple of fresh limes over the cooked meat before serving. The bright citrus cuts through the fat and enhances the flavor of the spices.
Storage and Reheating
Unless you prepare this easy carnitas recipe for a large group, you’re bound to have leftovers!
Allow the meat to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container. Mexican pulled pork can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through, adding a splash of broth as needed for moisture. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.
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Easy Carnitas Recipe FAQ
What cut of meat is best for carnitas?
A shoulder roast (also known as pork butt) is the top choice for a number of reasons. It’s easy to shred, especially when slow cooked for hours, and the fat provides plenty of flavor and moisture.
It’s also one of the most inexpensive cuts, making it a budget-friendly option for many families.
I personally like to use a boneless sirloin roast – it’s not as fatty as the shoulder, but it’s not as lean as tenderloin. It has just the right balance of texture and flavor!
Are carnitas and Mexican pulled pork the same?
Essentially, yes. Both are slow cooked for hours until the meat is falling apart and extra tender.
The difference is one small step at the end – carnitas are broiled before serving so the ends become brown and crispy.
What goes well with pork carnitas?
Just about everything! We love to spoon some of the meat into flour tortillas with all of our favorite toppings.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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OTHER SLOW COOKER RECIPES
Easy Carnitas Recipe + Video
- 4 pounds boneless pork sirloin tip roast
- 1 tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
- 2 cups low sodium chicken stock, or 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon low sodium chicken base
- 2 limes
- salt , to taste
- Cut pork into 8 cubes. Set aside.
- In a small bowl combine chili powder, garlic, cumin, paprika, and oregano. Mix to combine. Coat pork with the spice mixture on all sides of pork pieces. Place into a slow cooker (I used a 6 quart). Pour chicken stock around the sides of the pot. Avoid pouring directly on top of pork or seasoning will come off.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (alternately cook on low for 10 hours). Meanwhile prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. When the pork is tender, use 2 forks to shred meat into large pieces. Taste for seasoning, if necessary add salt to taste (mine did not need salt). Use a slotted spoon to remove pork from slow cooker and place on a cookie sheet.
- Pour cooking liquid into a pot and boil until thickened (spoon leaves a trail when swirled through) and pour over pork. Preheat oven to broil. Place pork until broiler until edges are nice and crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and squeeze 2 limes over top.
- Serve and enjoy!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published October 2014, updated and republished March 2022
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